Welcome Christmas!

A perennial broadcast favorite featuring the Minneapolis-based ensemble, VocalEsssence. Recognized internationally as one of America's premier choral arts organizations, VocalEssence is led by the visionary Philip Brunelle.

This year, Welcome Christmas! is a tribute to John Rutter, composer of "What Sweeter Music" and "Shepherd's Pipe Carol." His beloved Christmas music and recordings are heard and loved by millions around the world. VocalEssence shares several Rutter Christmas classics, including the United States premiere of his latest, "Carol of the Magi." John Rutter also speaks with host John Birge about his faith, his long history with VocalEssence, and his love of Christmas music, going back to his days as a high-school chorister. "The high point of our singing year was Christmas," he said. "Our parents would show up, and we'd do our best to sing our best music and make it a real sense of occasion." Christmas traditions are old, but twelve years ago, Welcome Christmas started a new tradition: their annual Christmas Carol contest. And for 2010, VocalEssence unwraps two new carols, each a world premiere.

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